AVG vs. ICQ

Well well, what a bloody farce! Upgrade to AVG Internet Security (the business version) and ICQ stops working… if you’re having problems with ICQ being unable to connect (the incredibly informative ‘Oops, something went wrong’ message), read on.

I don’t use ICQ very often, so imagine my frustation when I tried to use it and it wouldn’t connect.

Wracking my poor PHP addled brain the only change that I’d made to my laptop that I thought would have an impact was the introduction of AVG Internet Security suite. I upgraded the laptop from AVG Free largely because I’d been starting to use it for commercial purposes and because I wanted the extra security provided by the paid up product.

Anyhow, I digress… the problem with ICQ… when I tried to connect, I would constantly receive the ‘Oops, something went wrong’ message. ICQ devs, listen up… MAKE YOUR BLOODY ERROR MESSAGES MEAN SOMETHING FFS. That is just such an unhelpful message it’s untrue… what went wrong? did the world stop spinning? did the little ethernet elf get lost on his way to my router? did a gremlin of the global net munch my packets as they winged their way to your servers? Who knows… something went wrong.

So, not wanting to contemplate the possibility that technology could kick my ass, I’ve just spent the best part of 3 hours tinkering with firewall rules, turning it off (and watching ICQ connect), tweaking more and turning it back on only to have ICQ fail again. Desperate times called for desperate measures so out came the install for WireShark. And what did I see… well, when it connected, there it was, clear as day, the TCP/IP connection establishment phase. With the firewall on however, nothing. A quick email to AVG tech support brought only the suggestion that I completely clean my configuration and then run a series of diagnostic tests (after I spent several hours configuring the dam thing to handle profile switching for 2 LANs, 2 WAPs and my mobile phones internet sharing, I think not. So thanks guys, helpful as ever).

And now I’m ranting, so I’ll move swiftly onto the solution…

The problem I believe was timing. My laptop isn’t exactly brimming with clock cycles, so the time AVG spent traversing it’s firewall rules resulted in a socket timeout (at least I think thats what was happening… ‘Oops, something went wrong’ is oh so informative). To get around this, I trawled through AVGs configuration options and discovered the priority rules. I added a rule to them to handle the ICQ connections to port 5190, apply the configuration and hey presto… one connecting ICQ client.

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